The economic downturn is having an impact on people’s decision to skip or postpone treatment. The following article details recent findings by the Kaiser Family Foundation healthcare tracking poll. While not completely unexpected, the numbers found in the poll demonstrate that a significant amount of Americans are delaying care. In these times of economic uncertainty, good health is important and should not be sacrificed, postponed or left untreated. If the cost of health care is affecting you or your family, we suggest you choose a consumer directed health care partner.
Healthcare Financial Management Association
As economic conditions continue to worsen, the public is increasingly worried about the affordability and availability of care, with many postponing or skipping treatments due to cost in the past year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s first healthcare tracking poll of 2009.
Slightly more than half (53 percent) of Americans say their household cut back on health care due to cost concerns in the past 12 months. The most common actions reported are relying on home remedies and over-the-counter drugs rather than visiting a doctor (35 percent) or skipping dental care (34 percent). Roughly one in four report putting off health care they needed (27 percent), one in five say they have not filled a prescription (21 percent), and one in six (15 percent) say they cut pills in half or skipped doses to make their prescription last longer.
The 27 percent of the public that reported they had put off or postponed getting needed health care were asked about the specific types of care they had forgone. The most common responses were delaying going to the doctor for a temporary illness (19 percent) or for preventive care (19 percent). But nearly as many–16 percent–report putting off care for a more serious problem, either postponing a doctor’s visit related to a chronic illness such as diabetes or delaying major or minor surgery.